In the first book of this series by Robin Allen we meet Poppy Markham who comes from a line of restaurateurs. Her family has been the owner of Markham’s for as long as she remembers in the heart of Austin, Texas. She somehow has been able to leave behind the family business and end up as a health inspector, trying to get every eatery in town up to code.
When one day her Dad asks her to fill in the restaurant kitchen’s a a short cook for the big re-opening of their family restaurant, she realizes that many things have changed . Not only the restaurant has teamed up with a renowned french chef Evariste but also the dynamic and even the atmosphere of the place has changed.
But when Evariste is discovered dead right behind the trash dumpster and her half sister Ursula is taken in as the guilty party. She must rally to find the real motive behind the murder and the murderer himself before her family is even more implicated and the family business goes under.
I love this series because Poppy is such a likeable character and her descriptions of the setting (Austin) as well as the dynamic within her seemingly dysfunctional family make for a great background for the mystery itself. The story actually keeps the intensity until the end and the side characters add a ton of color to the book.